When we come to Yale, our phones adjust accordingly. We religiously use GCal, we (don’t) set an alarm, so we can wake up for our 9 a.m.’s, and we scout out the dining hall menus in advance. Oh, and we download Tinder. If we can organize our classes, meals and friends with our phones, then why not our love lives?
Amidst coffee dates at Blue State, ice cream dates at Arethusa (if we’re lucky) and the occasional late night rendezvous, our Tinders have certainly brought us excitement. However, they have occasionally brought us to points where we stop and reflect on what modern dating has become. One night, towards the end of our “date,” a match told one of us that he hates the way that Tinder makes him perceive and objectify women. “Isn’t it kind of fucked up to make a split-second judgement on whether you’re interested in a person?” he asked. Most of our friends who are on Tinder have come forth with the same worry. But if we all hate how superficial online dating is, then why do we continue to swipe?
On the other side of Yale dating, one might think that meeting people organically is the way to go. However, the other half of us have learned this is arduous, as it leaves so much space for miscommunication, missed opportunities and regret. No matter where you look for love, it’s a risk and every time you get your heart broken it seems a little less worth it to try again.
The sad truth about dating at Yale is that people aren’t willing to modify their already busy schedules in order to make time for a real relationship. It is much easier to swipe on Tinder while you’re on the toilet than to go out and meet new people naturally. Matching with people on Tinder brings the same sense of temporary excitement as making eye contact with the hot kid in your section, except you can swipe on Tinder and skip the Econ 116 section you didn’t want to go to anyway.
Tinder satisfies the need for external validation because it allows us to quantify how attractive we are by the amount of matches we receive. In reality, though, Tinder does not keep us warm at night, and the shallow perception of dating that it promotes leaves us feeling lonelier than before. We see our matches as a set of four to six carefully curated photos rather than real people, which allows us to detach ourselves from the emotional component of dating in real life. We forget that people are people and reduce them to merely a profile devoid of emotions.
It seems too naive to say that we swipe because we hope to find love, but for some of us that is the truth. It feels like we’ve seen every archetype of the Yale Man on Tinder, ranging from the tallest crew boy in the Woads mosh pit to softboy drama assholes and the boys who pose on the roofs of frats on High Street. We neatly sort our matches into these categories even before the first coffee date, and more often than not, these perceptions become our version of reality.
What we all miss, though, is all the things that our profiles don’t say — that we bi-weekly stuff our faces with grilled cheeses in the Hopper dining hall, that we are oddly terrified by pigeons and cockroaches, that we wear crocs in the shower or even that we would be willing to sacrifice our time to find something real.
Even outside of Tinder, we hope to find these things. We sometimes take the leap to be vulnerable, but we are scarred by the times that our vulnerability fails. We end up crying and sending texts we will regret from the barren wasteland some call Popeyes at 2 AM on a Saturday night. We tell ourselves never again, but why?
We’ve had some happy times and some sad times on Tinder. We’ve hooked up with the hot boy we saw once in Starr, we’ve played Jenga with a stack of orange peels in the dining hall, we’ve bonded with our matches over our love for mediocre British rom-coms, and we’ve started to realize that we might want something more. It is in that moment, though, that Tinder leaves you royally fucked. An app so centered around sex leaves no room for love, and once we realize this, we know deep down that it is not for us.
And so, we delete our apps and make new resolutions. We start spin classes, we stop eating sugar (unless it’s in the margaritas at Barracuda), we go paleo, and we tell ourselves that we can find love offline. For some reason, we feel we aren’t worthy of love without making a groundbreaking change. What we forget, though, is the reason that we chose to download Tinder in the first place — romance at Yale fucking sucks. Now we’re left with the sad truth that we won’t be able to return to Starr or watch Bridget Jones or walk past a place you once sat together without the ghosts of matches past lingering by our side. Where are we supposed to find love on a campus where everyone pretends as if they don’t want it?
So many of us want love, but we are scared. We are scared of people seeing that we are not as perfect as our profiles might look, and we are scared that opening up to someone really means that we are only opening ourselves up to more hurt. So, we hide behind our Tinder profiles, mini-crushes, DFMOs and subtle alcoholism in order to convince ourselves that we are the ones in control. In reality, though, we aren’t. No one is — that’s the problem with love at Yale. We are so concerned with maintaining control that we can never bring ourselves to willingly hand it over to someone else. We want to trust others, but when it is our heart on the line, we feel more comfortable feigning indifference. It’s easier to end things than to put in the work to genuinely talk about our feelings.
Tinder is not the root of the problem with love at Yale. For those of you who have genuinely found love online: that’s lovely, and we hope that goes well. For the other 99% of us, Tinder is the most prevalent manifestation of our fear of intimacy. We hide behind this superficial version of dating to try and avoid heartbreak, but in doing so, we forget that finding love might just be worth the risk. We think it is. It’s better to feel love and its potential following heartbreak than nothing at all. Will we delete our profiles after writing this article? Maybe. Or maybe we’ll just delete the app until we next want to believe that it will make us feel less alone.
With or without Tinder, we want you to know that the people you meet are just that, people. Real people with real feelings — nothing more and nothing less. Real people who may have not yet given up on love. We are two of those people, in spite of everything, even though we sometimes pretend not to be.
Leila Halley-Wright | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindsay Jost | email@example.com